The car: 1979 Pontiac Special Edition Trans Am
The owner: Kelly Lonergan, Rockwood
The story: The term “bling” hadn’t been invented when this car was born 35 years ago. But it had it in spades, so much so that Kelly Lonergan took one look at it in an April 1979 Pontiac brochure and fell instantly in love.
“I had to have one,” he said.
He ordered it with less options, but when it seemed like the car car might not get built, he decided to purchase the “loaded” version that was sitting on the lot in Orillia for $11,276.
“It was one of the best decisions I ever made,” he said. “The Bandit is a pleasure to drive and show, especially when I receive the honks and thumbs up from other cars on the road.”
In other words, it’s still got that bling.
Although you could be forgiven for thinking so, Pontiac never actually made a Bandit Edition Trans Am, they simply tapped into the wildfire popularity of Burt Reynolds’ Smokey and the The Bandit movie? to promote their 50th anniversary LE and SE style: black with gold accents.
Lonergan’s Bandit got a restore job in 2007. It has a 6.6 litre engine, 4-wheel disc brakes, A/C, posi-traction rear end, power windows and of course, a tan interior with vinyl seats. Visitors to the 2011 Toronto International Show or this year’s Mega Speed might have seen the Bandit on exhibit, where it turned plenty of heads, Lonergan said.
“That’s one of the best things (about owning it): the people I meet and talk with at classic car shows who are fans of the car.”
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